Finalists announced for fluid power category in LEAP Awards

Four finalists were announced on Friday for the inaugural LEAP Awards’ Fluid Power Category, comprising a fascinating array of new hydraulic and pneumatic technology advances. The competition was scored by a panel of independent technical/engineering-oriented judges. Responsible for the Fluid Power category were these four judges:


Sam John
Innovative Products Inc.

As President of Innovative Products, Sam John is responsible for the design and manufacturing of various custom-built automatic machines for different industries. He also resolves design and manufacturing issues, conducts project meetings and issue status reports, manages budgets, submits project proposals, and directs projects. He’s worked with clients as varied as Medtronic, Tinker Air Force Base, GE Oil and Gas, and AVARA Pharmaceutical Services. Previously, he worked for Sorb Technology (now Fresenius) and Akzo-Nobel.

A member of the ASME, John has an MBA from Oklahoma City University, a Master’s in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Oklahoma and a BS in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Calicut.


Thomas E. Manley
Engineering Manager
Feedall Automation

Thomas Manley is Manager of Engineering at Feedall Automation, where he directs and designs the machine orders that come through the engineering department. He is also a part-time engineering instructor at Lakeland Community College and is the designer of 14 U.S. Patents for various companies that he has worked for.

Manley has worked with high-profile companies such as Harley-Davidson, American Axle, Meritor, Caterpillar, and Ford Motor Company, among others. He helps companies and engineers implement automation systems into their plant, while adhering to their desired budget and goals.


Russell Olmsted
Project Engineer
Arrow Tech Company

Russell Olmsted is a Mechanical Engineer with experience in product development, product management, and distribution sales. He also has expertise in compressible and in-compressible fluid applications, fluid power applications and components focused on filtration, pump, and motors, and specialty and compressed gas components.

Olmsted is currently a Project Engineer at Arrow Tech Co., where he reviews and evaluates current work-flow processes with Arrow Tech and M&D Welding daily. His expertise involves developing contact-record-management (CRM) capabilities, providing technical support to marketing and operations to resolve any issues with existing products, and developing solutions to production problems related to materials, processes and tooling.

Ernie Parker
Retired Professor
Hennepin Technical College

Ernie Parker started his education at Granite Falls AVTI (now Minnesota West Technical College) and went to work at the Char-Lynn Company after graduating. He then joined the Army, where he was trained as a Radar Technician and served in Vietnam.

In 1971 he returned to Char-Lynn (now Eaton Corp.). He worked in various capacities as an Engineer, Assistant Purchasing Agent, Draftsman, Electronic Tech, and Hydraulic Tech. While at Eaton after the service, he attended evening school and obtained his teaching licenses. He eventually began teaching in the Fluid Power Technology area at Hennepin Technical College and became the manufacturing Department Chair in 1995. In 1977, he started Hydra Tech Inc., a consulting and fabrication company for hydraulics and pneumatics.

Parker has built more than 200 test benches, training benches, and all kinds of different equipment for companies like Boeing, Donaldson Co., 3M, John Deere, Caterpillar, Eaton and many others.

He is on both the Education Board and the Certification Board of the IFPS. Parker also works with the NFPA (National Fluid Power Association) with their bicycle vehicle challenge for university capstone projects. Hennepin Technical College Foundation receives his help as a Board of Directors member to support scholarships for students. He feels very honored that he has been able to help individuals find their direction in life and educated over 1000 students and industry personal over his career. In 2009 he received the” Educator of the Year” award from the Board of Trustee for the State of Minnesota that includes 37 two-year and four-year colleges, 54 campuses and more than 11,000 full and part time faculty.

Below are descriptions of the four finalists. The overall winner of the Fluid Power category will be announced at an awards dinner on December 11th in Costa Mesa, Calif.

Danfoss Power Solutions
D1 Pump

Series D1 pump is a high performance variable axial piston pump designed primarily for open circuit hydraulic systems used in heavy duty mobile applications. D1 pumps feature a robust swashplate, servo-controlled design, with proven reliability and performance for harsh operating conditions.

There are four displacements offered with D1 pumps: 130cm^3, 145cm^3, 193cm^3, 260cm^3 with maximum working pressure of 350bar, peak pressure (intermittent) 400bar and input speed ratings of 2500rpm for up to 193cc displacement, 2300rpm for 260cc. Advanced control options are available with D1 pumps such as: mechanical torque control, pressure compensated control, electric displacement control, and load sensing control. This pump works well with other Danfoss products including closed and open circuit pumps, PVG valves, and motors. Electric controls are PLUS+1 compliant.

Engineers from all over the world came together to develop the D1 pump targeting the concrete pump market. Development and engineering occurred in China with our H1 and S45 teams from Germany, Slovakia, and the US. With D1 pumps, high flow and high-pressure system needs can be addressed. Additionally, these pumps have a longer life than medium power products, lasting longer in the field under the same operating conditions. With the new controls offered, customers can limit the power consumption of the pump, protecting prime movers from being overloaded or stalled. The electric displacement control allows you to control the displacement of the pump via electric current, which enables advanced integrated functions such as systems power control, work function speed control, and more.

Eaton Corp.
Boom Stability Control System

Eaton’s boom stability control (BSC) technology is a new system that reduces hydraulic boom oscillation by up to 75% and boom settling time by up to 90%. The active damping technology is enabled by a proprietary control algorithm, which works in conjunction with the company’s

CMA advanced mobile valve. It uses the valve’s onboard sensing and independent metering capabilities to detect vibration and automatically stabilize the entire boom structure.

BSC technology improves the performance, productivity and safety of boom-equipped machinery by enhancing placement accuracy and enabling faster boom deployment and point-to-point movement. Reducing boom oscillation also creates a safer environment for those working from or around the boom.

The technology requires minimal hardware and wiring on the boom. It integrates with Eaton or original equipment sensors and controllers, maintains machine safety and manual override features, and is fully configurable and tunable to the desired feel and performance.

BSC technology also enables active ride control on mobile equipment. It can predict and smooth roading disturbances to improve operator comfort, enable increased driving speeds and reduce shaking of the boom or bucket, thereby minimizing loss of material.


FD-Groups America Inc.
Auto-Steering Valve

The first model of the Auto Steering Valve was designed 5 years ago as a product enhancement to current tractors. At the request of a customer, the valve has been improved to be weatherproof, to optimize hydraulic connections on one side, to streamline electrical cables, and to be more compact and lighter.

This Auto Steering Valve can be installed as an upgrade to older model tractors. If the tractor is GPS-equipped and has a hydraulic steering system (either LS dynamic or conventional), our Auto Steering Valve will automate the steering process. One valve fits all.

Drivers have the convenience of selecting either the manual or automated steering modes, with peace of mind offered by our key safety feature, which allows the operator to override the automated system with a simple turn of the steering wheel.

Festo Corp.
Evolutionary Intelligent Pneumatics

The Festo VTEM Motion Terminal is a revolutionary cyber-physical system (CPS). Ten downloadable apps are available for download with an additional 40 apps planned. Each unique combination of apps changes the motion functionality, giving OEMs a new flexible motion control platform.

The VTEM Motion Terminal conforms to the National Science Foundation’s definition of CPS as engineered systems that are built from, and depend upon, the seamless integration of computational algorithms and physical components. The foundation envisions that, “Advances in CPS will enable capability, adaptability, scalability, resiliency, safety, security, and usability that will far exceed the simple embedded systems of today. CPS technology will transform the way people interact with engineered systems — just as the Internet has transformed the way people interact with information. New smart CPS will drive innovation and competition in sectors such as agriculture, energy, transportation, building design and automation, healthcare, and manufacturing.”

The VTEM platform is modular and reconfigurable – thereby meeting two important criteria for Industry 4.0 and Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT)-based systems. The platform was designed for environments that gain a competitive advantage through:
• Manufacture of short-lifecycle products
• Efficient production of many stock keeping units (SKUs)
• Small-lot-size production

The components of the VTEM Motion Terminal include digitally controlled flexible valves, an integrated processor, Ethernet communications, electrical inputs for fast control of specific analog and digital applications, and integrated pressure, stroke, and temperature sensors for data analysis. The VTEM Motion Terminal, in development for three years, is sold in either four-valve or eight-valve platforms.

Industry News

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.